Two Hikers on Horseback - Chocolate Amaranth Bars (vegan & paleo)

What are they like?

-deliciously chewy

-packed with cocoa, cinnamon, and pecans

This photo is a picture of traditional Alegria. The recipe below includes cocoa and pecans.

This photo is a picture of traditional Alegria. The recipe below includes cocoa and pecans.

 

Recipe

These bars are are 5-ingredient, vegan, paleo, dairy free, and of course gluten free. They are a variation on the Mexican candy Alegria which calls for popped amaranth. It can be made with different spices, nuts or seeds. It is also generally made with honey and sugar, but the coconut nectar pairs nicely with the chocolate.

Make ahead, 5-ingredient, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut free, Stove-top, No-bake

2/3 cup amaranth (see note)
1/3 cup chopped pecans (or substitute 1/4 cup sesame seeds for nut free)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut nectar or honey*
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Heat a large, deep pot over medium heat until it is quite hot, for about one and a half minutes. Sprinkle one tablespoon of amaranth into the pan and place the lid on the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl every few seconds to keep the amaranth from burning. You will hear the amaranth popping. Once the popping slows down, pour the amaranth into a medium bowl and repeat the process until you have 1 cup of amaranth. Not all of the amaranth will pop and that is okay.

  2. Stir the cinnamon into the amaranth.

  3. Add the coconut nectar (or honey) to a microwavable measuring cup. Heat for about twenty seconds until it is warm. Whisk in the cocoa powder and salt.

  4. Pour the mixture over the amaranth and stir to combine. Stir in the pecans.

  5. Spoon the mixture onto a 12x12 piece of parchment paper or reusable wax cloth. Using your hands and the parchment paper, press the mixture into a square shape about 1/2-inch thick. Allow it to rest two hour to one day. The longer you let the bars rest the better they will hold together. The bars can be stored in a sealed container for about three days.

Notes:
If you’ve never popped amaranth, you may want to have two bowls. The first time I made it, I burned a tablespoon or two and you can pour the burned batch into a separate bowl. You will most likely end up using about 1/2 cup of the amaranth to make 1 cup of popped amaranth.

If you serve these bars an hour after they are made they won’t hold their shape. If you need them to be ready to serve within an hour substitute 1/4 cup sugar for 1/4 cup of the honey. Heat the honey and the sugar in a small sauce pan to 250F/120C before adding the cocoa and pouring over the amaranth.

*Honey is not vegan

Lavender Oat Cookies (Vegan)

What are they like?

-delicate lavender aroma (optional)

-crunchy

-packed with whole grains

Depositphotos_83409202_l-2015.jpg
 

Recipe

These are deliciously crunchy and can be flavored with your favorite extract. They are also not too sweet and packed with whole grains.

Makes about 14 cookies, prep 10 min, cook time ~12 min with two trays

1 1/2 cups whole oats or oat flour, 167g
3/4 cup teff flour, 140g
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar, 92g
1/3 cup rice milk, 82g
1/2 cup olive oil, 95g
1/2 tsp lavender extract, or to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Stir in the oil. Then add the rice milk and extract and stir until incorporated. The dough will be fairly wet. 

  3. Roll into 1 1/2 tablespoon sized rounds. Place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies with your fingers or a spatula to desired thickness (about 1/3 inch or 1/2 cm).

  4. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until the cookies start to brown on the outside and bottom. (Oven temperatures vary so watch them closely.) 

  5. Allow the cookies to cool completely and then store in an airtight container. These cookies are also excellent dipped in chocolate. 

Notes:

If you like, you can substitute another flavor of extract. 

Super Seedy Crackers

What are they like? 

- Hearty

- Packed with nutrients

- Full of flavor
 

The cracker on the right is a variation of crisp bread with the seeds on top. The recipe below is all seeds!

The cracker on the right is a variation of crisp bread with the seeds on top. The recipe below is all seeds!

 

Recipe

This recipe is adapted from Oh She Glows Everyday by Angela Liddon. In her book they are called “Endurance Crackers”. They are packed with nutrients, flavorful, and calorie dense.

Serves 10, Prep 10 min, baking 30-40 min 

1/4 cup chia seeds, 40g
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 40g
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, 30g
1/4 cup sesame seeds, 35g
scant 1/2 cup warm water, 70g
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling

optional:
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lime juice, plus zest of one lime (can substitute lemon)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, adding the warm water last. Stir to combine.

  3. Allow the seeds to rest while they absorb the water. Oil three pieces of parchment paper.

  4. When the seeds have absorbed all of the water, divide the mixture between two pieces of parchment paper. Place the third piece of parchment paper oil-side down onto the mixture. Using a rolling pin, roll out the mixture as thin as possible, 1/8-1/4 inch thickness. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

  5. Slide each of the the rolled out crackers onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes. Then using a spatula, carefully flip the crackers and bake for about 20 minutes or until they are golden*. Note that it is easy to burn these crackers so it is better to take them out early and rebake them later if needed. Allow the crackers to cool completely and then break them up into desired sizes. If they are not crunchy, put them back into the oven for a few more minutes. Store in an airtight container for one week.

*At this point, you may want to tear the crackers up into large pieces to help them cook evenly. However, they are hot so be careful.


Buttery Crackers

What are they like? 

- Buttery & Crispy

- Excellent solo, dipped in nut butter, or served with hors d'oeuvre
 

These crackers can be made thin or smaller and thick. If they are thick, you’ll want to cut them out before baking. If you like, you can press seeds or spices into the top of the dough prior to baking.

These crackers can be made thin or smaller and thick. If they are thick, you’ll want to cut them out before baking. If you like, you can press seeds or spices into the top of the dough prior to baking.

 

Recipe

These crackers are delicate, rich, and crispy. I think of them as a fancier cracker but that doesn’t mean they are harder to make than other crackers—quite the opposite. This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen; and their recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook. The glaze is delicious and recommended but they are also good without it. These crackers are delicious solo or served with dips or nut butters.

Serves 4, Prep 10 min, baking 20 min 

3/4 cup flour mix (96g) OR 3/4 cup brown rice flour, plus 1/2 tsp psyllium husk powder or xanthan gum
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp oat flour, 36g
1 1/2 tbsp sugar, 20g
1/2 sea salt, 3g
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tbsp unsalted butter or buttery spread such as Earth Balance, 55g

2 tbsp cold water, 30 ml

Glaze (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup, 23g (or other honey/syrup)
1/4 tsp molasses
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp hot water

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/ 175C. Place a piece of oiled parchment paper on the back of a cookie sheet. Spray a second piece of parchment paper.

  2. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: the flour mix, oat flour, paprika, sugar, and salt.

  3. Work the cold butter or vegan spread into the mix using your hands, fork, or a food processor until the mixture resembles cornmeal with some larger pieces of butter.

  4. Start by adding 1 1/2 tbsp (or 20ml) cold water. You may need to add more. Add just enough water until the dough forms a ball when pressed together. You want the dough to form a ball but you don’t want it to be too sticky or too dry and crumbly.

  5. Place the dough on the parchment paper on the back of a cookie sheet. Place the second piece of oiled parchment face down on the dough and using a rolling pin roll the crackers out as thin as possible 1/8-1/4 inch.

  6. Slice the crackers using a knife or pizza cutter. Dock the crackers using a fork. If making the glaze, mix tougher the ingredients in a small bowl and using a pastry brush, brush the liquid onto the dough.

  7. Bake them for about 20 minutes until the edges brown or until they are lightly golden on top. Allow the crackers to cool completely before eating as this will ensure that they are crunchy. If the cooled crackers are not crispy, they can be put back into the oven and baked for additional time.

Once cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes: 
Crackers can easily be undercooked or overcooked so watch them carefully once they start to brown. You want them to be cooked enough to be crisp but not burned. You may need to remove the outer crackers midway through baking if they become too browned.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Norwegian Crisp Bread

What are they like? 

- Hearty

- Packed with seeds

- Full of nutrients
 

The cracker on the right is a variation of crisp bread with the seeds on top. The cracker above is lighter in color than the cracker recipe below because the recipe calls for buckwheat.

The cracker on the right is a variation of crisp bread with the seeds on top. The cracker above is lighter in color than the cracker recipe below because the recipe calls for buckwheat.

 

Recipe

These crackers are super hearty, packed with nutritious ingredients, and covered in flavorful seeds.

Serves 8, Prep 10 min, baking 30-40 min 

2/3 cup buckwheat flour, 100g
1/3 flour mix, 42g (try leaving out for paleo or substitute coconut flour)
1/4 cup flax seeds, 35g
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, about 145g / 355 ml (see note)
1/4 tsp cumin powder and 1/2 tsp fennel powder (optional)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil, 25g
1/2 cup warm water (or more if needed), about 115g
1 tbsp honey or sugar for vegan (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Place a piece of oiled parchment paper on the back of a 17 x 11 1/2 inch cookie sheet. Spray a second piece of parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl mix together all of the flours, seeds, spices, and salt. Add the oil and mix. Then add the water. Start with scant 1/2 cup and mix, adding more if necessary, until the dough will form a ball when pressed together. The dough will be on the tacky side for cracker dough (it will feel a little sticky).

  3. Place the dough on the oiled parchment paper and place the second piece of oiled parchment paper face down on the dough and roll the crackers out as thin as possible 1/8-1/4 inch.

  4. Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges brown. Then flip the crisp bread over and break it up into five large pieces. Bake for about 15 more minutes, or longer if needed.

  5. Allow the crisp bread to cool completely before eating as this will ensure that they are crunchy. If the cooled crackers are not crunchy, they can be put back into the oven for bake and baked for additional time. Once cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes: 
- For a more elegant cracker reserve about one third of the seeds and press them into the rolled out dough just before baking. I prefer to use roasted seeds, but this is up to you. The seeds on top will get roasted when the crackers bake.
- Crackers can easily be undercooked or overcooked so watch them carefully once they start to brown. You want them to be cooked enough to be crisp but not burned. You may need to remove the outer crackers midway through baking if they become too browned.

gluten free dairy free quinoa and corn crackers recipe